Sustaining the ongoing activities under national and provincial tuberculosis (TB) control programmes is going to be a major challenge in a couple of years as the government tries to fight the fatal disease.
This view was shared by the speakers at a joint press conference held by National TB Control Programme (NTCP) at a local hotel on Saturday.
The speakers suggested that availability of first-line drugs and laboratory services beyond 2013 could become an impediment in continuation of the progress achieved under the current programmes.
Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, IPC Secretary Anisul Hasnain Musavi and NTCP National Manager Dr Ejaz Qadeer spoke on the occasion.
They were of the view that sustained financing of ongoing activities and their expansion are also among the major challenges.
Despite progress in detecting and treating patients, there are certain areas which still remain unaddressed, such as human resources development and cross-border movement. “These posses a challenge to transmission and spread of TB,” said a speaker.
Bizarani said that the number of detected patients during the past five years has increased from 100,000 to 430,000, which is a huge achievement.
“Due to enhanced diagnosis and awareness among people, 90 per cent of cases are now being detected,” he said.
Musavi added that the TB centres are being provided with food packages for deserving patients. However, he seemed to be answerless when asked about the details of their distribution.
Dr Qadeer, while adressing the press, said infection control measures are also being initiated, particularly in crowded hospitals to curb the spread of TB as each patient can affect nearly 15 people around him.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.
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